West Sussex County Council renews drive for host families for refugees.

As we rapidly approach 500 days since the start of the war in Ukraine, West Sussex County Council are appealing for a new cohort of hosts to open their doors to Ukrainian refugees.

For over a year, the West Sussex community have embraced the Homes for Ukraine scheme, providing safe and secure accommodation to thousands of guests across the county. These placements will be coming to an end for most guests, and yet, as the option to return to Ukraine is some way off, there is the need for new hosted accommodation to allow Ukrainians to fully settle into their new lives in the UK.

If you have a spare room, holiday home or self-contained annexe, and the desire to make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable people impacted by war, we would love to hear from you. You can be a part of an amazing journey, joining the hundreds of people who have enriched the lives of thousands. Oksana, a current guest said “I would like to tell you about my host, Alex, a sincere person with a big heart and infinite kindness. She and her husband have not just opened their home for us, but also let us into their life, and we feel like a part of their family here.”

Ukrainians already settled in West Sussex have had time to become established in their communities – they may be working, their children in school and friendships already forged, and so the support needed from hosts is minimal compared to what is needed for new arrivals.

Cllr Duncan Crow, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue said: “Residents across the county have demonstrated their support and welcome, and the County Council continues to be appreciative of these efforts. Our Ukrainian Support Team and Community Hub also remain available to support Ukrainian families and their hosts.”

If you or someone you know could offer accommodation to Ukrainians, our dedicated team will provide you with all the support you need to make their stay as comfortable and welcoming as possible, including matching hosts and guests to ensure a good ‘fit’, regular welfare checks and a dedicated contact to answer any questions or queries you may have. As a current host said, “this has been a rewarding experience, we have had lots of support and made friends for life”. As an eligible host, you will also receive a £500 per month as a thank you payment.

We are also looking to work with Landlords and Letting Agents who are interested in working with us and have properties to rent. Please contact ukrainesupport@westsussex.gov.uk for further information about both opportunities.